The Hike It, Bike It, Walk It, Drive It Guide to Ottawa, the Gatineau, Kingston and Beyond by Ann Campbell

The Hike It, Bike It, Walk It, Drive It Guide to Ottawa, the Gatineau, Kingston and Beyond
Ann Campbell
(Boston Mills Press, Erin (Ont.): 2001)

READ: intermittent to March 2009

A good book to help me discover some of these places literally next door. I have yet to undertake an entire one of Campbell's suggested excursions, but I have done some in part; for example, hiking up to the Mackenzie King estate in Gatineau Park. I keep this one nearby and often consult it when starting to wonder what to do on an upcoming Saturday. My one complaint: each described excursion would be well-served by an accompanying map. There isn't a single map in the whole book.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
(DC Comics, New York: 2008)

Originally published in serialized form, 1986-87.

READ: March 2009

Read the graphic novel in anticipation of going to see the movie, and I was so glad I did. Seemingly the story of how a number of retired superhero crime-fighters are now, apparently, being slowly targeted and eliminated, it is also, and much more importantly, a larger story of the fight for world domination and the end of the world. I thought the movie did a decent job of conveying the story onto the screen. The action and movement that is packed into the novel, however, is amazing. I may have to read some more graphic novels, if anyone has any suggestions.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
Wordsworth Classics edition
(Dover Publications, New York: 1994)

First published in 1816.

READ: February-March 2009

I've had this book for many years now, and had tried once or twice to read it with no success. This time, I did! You really have to be in the mood for some Victorian literature - it's wordy, with lots of big words. (Hey, I have 2 graduate degrees - I know a big word when I see one.) Plus, it's written in the "confessional" style, which is probably my least favourite writing style. And not only is it confessional in tone, it's purportedly written by Dr. Frankenstein, who hears all this from the monster himself. The monster had initially fled after Dr. Frankenstein expressed horror at the being he had just created. Over the course of many, many years, he apparently taught himself English by living in the shed of an unsuspecting family in Switzerland, listening to their conversations and watching their interactions, night after night. His English is impeccable! And very Victorian. Then there is a whole string of misunderstood events that lead to a fairly high body count, and a multi-country pursuit.

However, once I was able to suspend my disbelief and get past the fact that the monster spoke as if he'd fallen out of a novel, it was, in fact, a fairly enjoyable story. It is not a very long book, and the story has a good pace. By the end, you really do feel sorry for the monster.

20,000 lieues sous les mers by Jules Verne

20,000 lieues sous les mers
Jules Verne
Édition jeunesse
(Hachette Jeunesse: 2009)

Publié pour la première fois dans sa version intégrale en 1870.

READ: November 2008 - March 2009

J'ai lu ce livre en anglais pour la première fois il y a quelques années à peine. Cette version fut la version jeunesse. C'est une histoire très intéressante (comme la première fois!), et je le recommande fortement, mais le français était d'un niveau assez compliqué... Voir le recensement en anglais pour plus d'information.